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Mobile dating grips Mizo youths

Short message service engagement has become quite a rage now-a-days among youth in Mizoram.

india Updated: Oct 23, 2006 11:10 IST

After speed dating, a formalised matchmaking process, silent mobile short message service (SMS) engagement has become quite a rage now-a-days among youth in Mizoram.

According to the Mizo 'gen next', it is one of the best ways of finding their Mr or Miss Right, thanks to mobile phones and SMS. And hundreds of next generation members are signing up for these silent parties.

Mizo youths today are too busy to find partners in the conventional way and they find it easier to lose their inhibitions when they are writing things down.

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Airtel are the only service providers in the region helping users especially youngsters to find dates, keep in touch with friends, share photos, and update their blogs - all via cell phone.

Mobile dating took off in Mizoram, especially in the capital city just a couple of years ago when the mobile made its debut in the state. During that time, the youngsters were tired of speed dating and so-called looking endlessly towards the road for a glimpse of someone special trudging down the streets.

With the mobile subscriber base of just a little more than 40,000 in the capital city alone, it has already struck a chord among the lovelorn teenagers.

As the latest mobile handsets are also available in the second-hand market, even a middle class youth could offer to have one of them and freak out.

"You might put something in a text which you wouldn't dream of saying directly to someone," Zodin Mawia, a cell phone user said.

"Ever since I took up the SMS habit, I spent more than Rs.1,000 per month for just SMS only," he said.

"Mobile phone dating not only works like normal one but also gives us a chance to know more about our date before a real introduction takes place and that too without stepping out," he pointed out.

The service's popularity is also increasing as BSNL and Airtel charges a mere 90 paise for an SMS.

"Nowadays, it looks like an exam time, especially for these college students. People sit with heads bowed, lost in thought as they flick the mobile keyboard, formulate their text for dating," he said.

"If it is a decent dating, I don't mind seeing this young generation getting hooked to this," said Malsawmi, a mother of two, who underlined that the newest trend has outclassed the online chatting through desktops.

Said Lalthangliana, an optimistic Nokia dealer here: "Mobile dating has something interesting and become a part of these folks."

The mobile phone dating, however, has its flip side as well. Many youngsters here complain that the person they meet after the dating is not up to the mark.

Moreover, the church has not approved the trend in this predominantly Christian state.

According to the BSNL deputy general manager C. Lalmachhuana and Airtel northeast corporate in charge Anjuli Chittranjan, company officials were very careful in verifying the identity of the subscribers, before allotting a mobile connection.

"We take much care in rejecting the people below the specified age group to procure the connection," both echoed.

First Published: Oct 23, 2006 11:10 IST